Abu Dhabi Art: the best bits
Before the fair began, I wrote this preview piece of Abu Dhabi Art published on Folio, Alserkal Avenue's editorial platform. Now, I want to mention a few of my personal highlights:
Bloodlines: At Jhaveri Contemporary, one of the seven curated gallery booths as part of the fair's Beyond: Territory section, a 1997 piece from an Indian and a Pakistani artist was on display. Nalin Malani and Iftikhar Dadi put this work together as a commentary on the enormous bloodshed that happened when the two countries now known as Pakistan and India were divided. The piece is now 20 years old and still as poignant. It is produced by embroidery professionals who work in zari, the traditional metal-wrapped threads used to embellish Indian and Pakistani garments.
The Atrium: One of the best things about this year's fair was the time and energy given to locally based artists. Under the guidance of Mohammed Kazem (whose work can be seen in this image on the far left) and Cristiana De Marchi, three Emirati artists were mentored for eight months and produced new commissions according. Shaikha Al Mazrou’s work Scales, 2017 - (the large sculpture in this image) was part of this section called Beyond: Emerging Artists. Mazrou, whose work can also be found in Lawrie Shabibi's booth at the fair, has fused principles of mathematics, architecture and design to make this column, which is constructed according to the Fibonacci sequence.
Line: This exhibition centres on a simple visual element: the line. Curated by Maya Allison, she had selected artists that discuss subjects ranging from politics to human gesture as well as national boundaries. Featuring the work of Mohammed Ahmed Ibrahim and Saloua Raouda Choucair (both pictured in this image) as well as Ebtisam Abdulaziz, Shilpa Gupta, Mohammed Kazem, Tatsuo Miyajima and David Claerbout, the display is excellent and the dialogue between works is really effective. This is an unavoidable part of Abu Dhabi Art as it is in the centre of galleries two and three and is well worth the visit.
Mission of Destruction: This artwork is bloody and a bit gruesome and its subject matter is more than a little harrowing but it is certainly worth a mention. It is monumental 15 metres in length and discusses a topic that is very pertinent to the region. Find it in Meem Gallery's booth.
Special mentions also go to Tabari Artspace whose Adel El Siwi portraits are gorgeous, AB43 Contemporary who have some stunning ceramic pieces made in collaboration with Meissen Porcelain and Pentimenti Gallery whose new work by Hadieh Shafie (pictured here) are simply beautiful and can only be appreciated if you see them in real life.
- Abu Dhabi Art, November 8-11, 2017, Manarat Al Saadiyat, Abu Dhabi.